moroccan chicken

This is a spectacularly delicious chicken dish.  It can be made with lamb or meatless.  Using seven vegetables brings good luck.  I used parsnips, butternut squash, onions, tomatoes, turnips, zucchini and carrots.  Feel free to put together any combination you want.  And the quantities I used in the recipe are totally open to modification.  I used a flavorful homemade organic chicken broth but store bought chicken broth or vegetable broth will work just fine.  Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend that is sweeter than some of the other blends.  It contains cinnamon, ginger, cumin,, clove, coriander, bay leaf and chili.  I also use a traditional Moroccan curry blend called Ras el Hanout.  It contains turmeric, white pepper, aniseed, cardamom cloves, all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and ginger.  Some recipes include saffron but I don’t think it stands up with all the other spices.  I prefer to use saffron by itself. 

When I make this dish I serve it with rice instead of couscous which would be the traditional accompaniment.  But I just found a smoked basmati rice which is delicious with fried onions and barberries.  For 6 people I cook the cups of  rice as directed and then take out a 1/4 of the rice and add a  pinch of saffron that has been steeped in a TBS of hot water.  To the rest of the rice I add a 1/4 cup of  barberries that have also steeped in a little hot water (draining the water) and add a medium onion that has been diced and fried until beginning to brown.  I serve the barberry rice on a platter surrounded by the saffron rice.

 [recipe difficulty=”medium”]



8 chicken thighs with bones and skin

4-6 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup flour

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

2 parsnips peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 large onion cut into small dice

1 small turnip or part of a rutabaga chopped into 1-2  inch dice

1 cup butternut squash cut into 1-2  inch dice

1/2 pound zucchini, either the tiny zucchini cut into 1 inch pieces or a larger one cut into 1/2 slices

1 can chickpeas

1/4  lb.  sliced dried apricots

2 garlic cloves, crushed.

2-3 TBS garam marsala

1 TBS Ras el Hanout (Moroccan blend of spices) 

1/4 pound slivered almonds

Harissa  (This is a spicy  red pepper blend that serves as a condiment. It can be found in Middle Eastern section of Wegmans or from a specialty grocer.)



  1. Dredge the chicken in flour and fry in olive oil until brown on both sides.  Set aside
  2. Fry onions in olive oil until soft and beginning to brown,  set aside.  Then fry turnip, parsnip, carrot  and butternut squash in batches until beginning to brown and smell aromatic.  Set aside
  3. Fry spices mixtures for three or four minutes,  stirring until aromatic, but take care not to burn.
  4. Add broth to frying pan along with tomatoes and bring to boil.
  5. Combine the vegetables, chickpeas, apricots and chicken and bring to simmer.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and more curry seasonings to taste.
  6. It is best if the dish cools overnight in the fridge and is reheated one or two days later.
  7. Last minute  lightly brown almonds  in butter.
  8. Also last minute fry the zucchini until barely cooked in olive oil and add garlic for the last minute, stirring it evenly into the zucchini.
  9. Remove the chicken mixture from fridge and carefully spoon off the solidified oil from the top.  Heat it up.  When simmering add the zucchini.  Check for seasoning .
  10. Serve on large platter sprinkling with rice and almonds.  Serve Harissa on the side.

Banana Upside-Down Cake

banana upside down cake

[recipe difficulty=”medium”] 

Banana Upside Down Cake

This cake is the best of a banana cake and an upside down cake.  You have to love bananas because this cake is the essence of bananas.  This is the cake you make when you have lots of really ripe bananas.

Topping ingredients:

1/2  cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1/4 stick unsalted butter
2-4 large ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Cake ingredients:

1 stick softened or melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana (2-3 bananas)
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk or a combination of buttermilk and sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Melt butter and sugar together along with maple syrup in 9 inch cast iron pan and let them caramelize until light brown. Be careful not to let it burn but no need to stir.
2.  Place the bananas attractive over the butter sugar mixture and set aside

Cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1.  Mix together all the dry ingredients:  baking powder, baking soda, two flours, cinnamon and salt and set aside.
2.  Beat sugar and butter in another bowl until creamy.
3.  Add egg and continue to beat until light and fully. 
4.  Add bananas,vanilla and milk and sour cream and beat together until blended.
5. Add flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.  Do not over mix
6. Carefully pour over the bananas in the iron skillet and spread evenly.
7. Place in center of oven and bake for about 45-55 minutes or until brown and tester comes out clean.
8. Remove the cake from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before carefully inverting it unto a serving tray.
9.  This cake is amazing served warm.






Mushroom-Walnut Paté



Mushroom-Walnut Paté
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  1. • 2-1/2 tablespoons butter
  2. • 2/3 cup mushrooms(any combination), sliced
  3. • 1/4 cup chopped shallots or onions
  4. • 1 small clove fresh garlic, minced
  5. • 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
  6. • 1 tablespoon walnut oil or olive oil
  7. • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. 1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter.
  2. 2. Add mushrooms, shallots and garlic. Sauté 7-10 minutes, stirring often, until mix is just browning and any liquids given off have evaporated.
  3. 3. Place walnuts, oil, salt and zest in a food processor and process until a paste has formed.
  4. 4. Add mushroom mix and blend until almost smooth.
  5. 5. Taste and add salt as needed.

Apple Garlic Chutney

[recipe difficulty=”medium”]
4-5 tart apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup dried apricots chopped into little cubes
1 cup golden raisins
6-7 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
2 tsp. grated and peeled fresh ginger
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cider or red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
In a non-reactive pot (not aluminum or iron) combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, stirring often.  Add more vinegar if necessary to prevent burning.  Cook for about 30 minutes until the apples are softened and the mixture is thickened.  Taste and add more salt, sugar or vinegar if necessary. To give it a nice kick I add a teaspoon of grated ginger and a clove of pressed garlic after I turn off the heat and stir it in.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Spoon into sterile jars and cover tightly.  Refrigerate for several days and up to two weeks to allow flavors to mellow.  This chutney can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Applesauce Upside Down Cake



These next two posts are my creations of upside down cake with the fruit also in the cake.  So this applesauce upside-down cake has an applesauce spice cake with the apples caramelized over the top.

I started with my applesauce muffin recipe adapting it as a cake recipe. 

 [recipe difficulty=”medium”] 

For Topping:
5-6 medium apples (peeled cored and quartered)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
For Cake Batter 
  • 1 ¼ cups applesauce (if sweetened cut down on the brown sugar)
  • 3/4  cup brown sugar
  • ½  cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½  teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


1.  Using a 9 inch cast iron skillet melt the butter and add the sugar.
2.  Arrange that apples cut side up in a decorative way over the melted butter and sugar. You can crowd them since they will shrink when cooked.
3.  Cook undisturbed for 25-45 minutes or until the apples are tender,  and the are light brown. Make sure not to burn the apples.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, Beat eggs first and then  add the applesauce, sugar, oil, and buttermilk; beat well.
  3.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and mix in cinnamon,  allspice, cloves and salt. Add to the applesauce mixture but don’t over stir.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Pour batter over the cooked apples, making sure to spread evenly almost to the edge.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Cool cake for 5 minutes and then carefully reverse it unto a platter.


Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad with Arugula


Charlie Bird's Farro Salad
Serves 6
A beautiful salad with a flavorful mixture of arugula, basil and mint
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 1 cup farro
  2. 1 cup apple cider
  3. 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  4. 2 bay leaves
  5. 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  7. 70 grams Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler (1/2 cup)
  8. 70 grams chopped pistachio nuts (1/2 cup)
  9. 2 cups arugula leaves
  10. 1 cup basil leaves, torn
  11. 1 cup mint leaves
  12. ¾ cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  13. ⅓ cup thinly sliced radish
  14. Maldon or other flaky sea salt, for finishing
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring farro, apple cider, salt, bay leaves and 2 cups water to a simmer. Simmer until farro is tender and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes.
  2. If all the liquid evaporates before the farro is done, add a little more water.
  3. Let farro cool, then discard bay leaves.
  4. In a salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  5. Add farro and mix well.
  6. This salad base will keep for up to 4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator (bring to room temperature before serving).
  7. Just before serving, fold in arugula, herbs, tomatoes, cheese and pistachio nuts and mix well. Add flaky salt to taste.
Adapted from Slightly adapted by Celia
This is one of the best salads to bring to a pot luck. It’s a winner and everyone wants the recipe. I usually adapt recipes but in this case I’ve followed Charlie Bird’s directions exactly (except that I don’t add the radishes). I usually cook the farro the day before and add the lemon juice and olive oil. Right before serving I fold in the rest of the ingredients. For a vegan offering I add the cheese separately. Thank you Charlie!




eric-ripert-clafouti_450x258 (1)





 Yield : 2 servings as side



Raspberry Clafouti
Serves 2
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  1. 1 tablespoon butter
  2. ¼ cup sugar + more for ramekin
  3. 1 large egg
  4. 6 tablespoons half and half
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  7. 1 cup fresh raspberries
  1. Heat toaster oven to 400°F. Butter two 3 ½ - inch ramekins and dust with sugar.
  2. Whisk egg until frothy and add sugar, half and half and vanilla extract; mix to combine.
  3. Add the all purpose flour and whisk very well.
  4. Divide the raspberries into the ramekins and pour the batter over the raspberries.
  5. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until golden brown and the middle is set.
  6. 6. Serve with a scoop of ice cream. (optional)

Stuffed Eggplant

I have made this a few times using wheat berries.  This is a recipe I found online from the New York TImes Cooking section.  It is amazing.  And it’s vegetarian.  I didn’t use the parsley and didn’t miss it.  I used pesto I had in the freezer instead of basil and that worked great.  I copied this and pasted into this blog making a few changes which I highlighted in red.  If you like eggplant,  please try this.  



Long-Simmered Eggplant Stuffed with Farro or Spelt

AUG. 25, 2014 From New York Times Cooking


This is a riff on imam bayildi, the long-cooking eggplant dish bathed in tomatoes and onions that is one of the great achievements of Turkish cuisine. I added cooked farro to the tomato-onion mix, making this more like a stuffed eggplant dish. The active cooking time is minimal, but the smothered eggplant must simmer for about 1 1/2 hours to achieve the intense, syrupy sauce and deep, rich flavor that make this dish such a wonder. Make it a day ahead for best results, and serve at room temperature on a hot night.

Time: 2 hours, including 1 1/2 hours mostly unsupervised simmering ( Mine was done after an hour)


Long Simmering Stuffed Eggplant with Farro or Spelt
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  1. 1/2 pounds eggplant (2 to 3 medium or 6 small eggplants), cut in half lengthwise
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. 1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced very thin
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  6. 1 1/2 pounds (3 large or 6 medium) tomatoes, grated or peeled and chopped or small diced tomatoes or homemade tomato sauce
  7. 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  8. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  9. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil ( I used frozen pesto instead of fresh basil)
  10. Freshly ground pepper to taste
  11. 1 cup cooked farro, spelt or wheat berries.
  12. 1/4 cup water
  13. 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar ( I used less)
  14. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  15. Additional minced parsley for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and brush with olive oil.
  3. Slit eggplants down the middle, being careful not to cut through the skin.
  4. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size, until outer skin begins to shrivel.
  5. Remove from oven and transfer, cut side down, to a colander set in the sink.
  6. Allow to drain for 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, lidded skillet and add onions.
  8. Cook, stirring often, until very tender, about 8 minutes, and add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to a minute, until fragrant.
  9. Add tomatoes, herbs, salt to taste, 1 teaspoon of the sugar and the cooked farro or spelt. Transfer to a bowl. Taste and adjust salt.
  10. Turn eggplants over and place in the pan, cut side up.
  11. Season with salt.
  12. Gently pull apart at the slit and fill with the onion, tomato and farro mix. Spoon any mix that couldn’t fit inside the eggplant over the top.
  13. Mix remaining olive oil, remaining sugar, water and lemon juice. Drizzle over and around the eggplants. Cover the pan and place over low heat.
  14. Cook gently for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, basting from time to time with the liquid in the pan, and adding water to the pan if it becomes too dry (this shouldn’t happen; in my experience, the eggplant releases water as it simmers).By the end of cooking, the eggplants should have collapsed significantly and the liquid in the pan should be syrupy or even slightly caramelized.
  15. Spoon this over the eggplant.
  16. Allow to cool in pan, sprinkle with parsley and serve at room temperature.

Yield: Serves 6

Advance preparation: This is best if made a day ahead. You can roast the eggplant through Step 1 and make the filling through Step 2 several hours before stuffing and cooking the eggplant. Once cooked, the finished dish can sit for several hours, or refrigerate overnight and bring to room temperature before serving. Cooked farro and spelt keep for 3 days in the refrigerator and freeze well.

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Curried Lentil, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup


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[recipe difficulty=”easy”]

Curried Lentil, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

This soup is my new favorite.  It combines smooth with crunch since the French lentils keep their firmness.  The red lentils and butternut dissolve into a lucious creaminess.  The sweet and spicy flavors meld together beautifully.  And I love the orange and green colors of this soup.  It improves after each reheating and MUST be made the day before.

Yield: 5-6 servings


  • 1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3  tsp curry powder ( I use a combination of Japanese and Indian curry blends)
  • 1-2  tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 cups chicken broth or vegetarian broth or water or combination
  • 14 oz light coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup red lentils, also known as Lal Masoor Dal (Goya sells this)
  • 1/4 cup Spanish Pardina lentils (Goya sells this) or French Puy lentils
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 TBS brown sugar ( or to taste)
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped or about two cups after stemming and chopping


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until onion becomes tender. Stir in the ginger, garlic, curry powder, and salt. Stir for about a minute, stirring frequently.
  2. Meanwhile, roast the squash for 15 minutes at 450 degrees until beginning to brown or fry over high heat.  This caramelizes the squash and heighten the flavor but if you are in a hurry just throw it in without browning.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to darken in color, stirring constantly. Add the water, coconut milk, red lentils, and squash (either quickly roasted or  fried in or just cut up and not roasted). Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, until the squash are falling apart and the lentils are cooked through, about 30 minutes. The red lentils will have dissolved and the French lentils will still have a little
  4. Stir in the kale and cook for about 5 minutes, or until wilted and tender.
  5. This soup is better refrigerated and warmed up and eaten the next day.



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[recipe difficulty=”medium”]


¾ cup sour dough starter

½ cup water

2 TBS molasses

1 TBS olive oil

1 ½ tsp salt

1 TBS toasted caraway seeds

2 ¼ cups Bread flour

¾ cup rye flour

1 ½tsp yeast

Combine in bread maker and check to make sure the consistency is correct after it has kneaded for a while. Once it has become a ball,   poke it with your finger.  You should have a tiny bit of stickiness but mostly it needs to be dry and in a ball. You may need to add more flour or water to adjust.

1.      Let  the bread maker do the kneading and first rise,

2.       Remove the dough and put it into a bowl lined with parchment paper.

3.       Let it rise again until double: one to two hours.

4.       Half an hour before preheat oven to 450° .Place empty large enamel pot  with cover (Le Creuset works great) that will just hold the bread in the oven to heat.

5.      Slit the top of the bread and carefully place in the enamel pot.  Don’t burn yourself lifting the lid (spoken from multiple experiences).  Cover the pot and cook the bread for 25-30 minutes.

6.      Remove the pot from the oven.  Carefully remove the bread and unless it is already evenly browned, place it as is, without parchment, in the oven and bake a few more minutes, checking regularly, until uniformly brown and crisp. Remove and cool.  Serve with butter.